International

    Politicians, war criminals: figures in the Balkan wars
    19.11.17
    AFP

    The UN court dealing with crimes committed during the wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia hands down its penultimate ruling on Wednesday, having delivered 83 convictions. Ahead of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) judgement of Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, here is a rundown of the fate of other key players in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. - Milosevic, Serbian president: charged - Slobodan Milosevic was accused of fuelling ethnic conflict and mass murder in the former Yugoslavia during his 13 years of iron rule, defying international sanctions and NATO bombs. Elected Serbian president in 1990, he played a key role in supporting...

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    The 1990s Balkan wars in key dates
    19.11.17
    AFP

    Ahead of the judgement Wednesday of Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, here is a timeline of the 1990s Balkans conflicts that tore apart the former Yugoslavia. - Bickering after Tito dies - Communist Yugoslavia, which emerged shortly after the end of World War II, was made up of six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Following the death of its autocratic leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980, the Yugoslav federation found itself in crisis, with bickering between ethnic groups and surging nationalist sentiments. By the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, inter-ethnic relations in Yugoslavia were at breaking point. The first multiparty elections in the...

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    Week in Review: Afghanistan and the ICC, step back for transitional justice in Tunisia
    04.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    This week has reflected the different faces of transitional justice as it hesitates, moves forward and sometimes moves back.   The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Friday that she will request Court approval to launch investigations into crimes committed in Afghanistan since 2003. Fatou Bensouda is targeting the Taliban and Afghan security forces and – in what is clearly the most politically sensitive part of the case -- CIA secret prisons and the US army. The US, which is not an ICC member State, has, like its Afghan allies, done everything to stop this...

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    Week in Review: “Historic” judgment for Liberia and the ICC under more fire
    21.10.17
    François Sergent and Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.net

    This week saw transitional justice faced once again with classic tensions between law and politics, justice and peace. As the ICC, supposed to be the “police force” of international justice, came under more fire, a US court delivered an important judgment linked to war crimes in Liberia, a country in the midst of elections where impunity still rules for the crimes of the civil war.  A court in Philadelphia on Wednesday found Mohammed Jabbateh (“Jungle Jabbah”) guilty of charges related to atrocities committed during the first Liberian civil war (1989-96). He is expected to be sentenced in coming months and could face up to 30 years in jail. In order to prove that Jabbateh entered the...

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    ICC scandal: Who is watching the sheriff?
    18.10.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    A consortium of media known as the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC), of which French investigative website Mediapart is a member, has revealed certain facts that are embarrassing to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Court has opened an internal investigation and suspended two members of staff, but the scandal focuses on former ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo. Apart from the questions about individual responsibility, the main issue raised by these revelations is ICC governance. Indeed, how should the ICC Prosecutor, the Court’s “sheriff”, be watched over? When Luis...

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    Week in Review: Scandal at the ICC, questions on Burundi and Mali
    08.10.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    The International Criminal Court is rocked by a huge scandal implicating its first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, while the Central African Republic pursues its difficult quest for justice and the suffering continues of Burundi’s people, being used as a rampart by a regime that sees threats everywhere. Eight international media, members of the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC), have conducted a six-month investigation into the secrets of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which makes serious allegations against its first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo. As JusticeInfo editorial...

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    Scandal rocks International Criminal Court
    08.10.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and professor at Neuchâtel University

    An enormous scandal has hit the International Criminal Court (ICC). After six months of investigations, eight international media of the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC) have produced findings that seriously undermine the ICC’s credibility and image of impartiality. They examined 40,000 confidential documents – diplomatic cables, banking documents and correspondence – obtained by French investigate website Mediapart. These documents throw for the first time a raw light on the political games of States around international justice and the dubious morality of Luis Moreno Ocampo, who...

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    Week in Review: Transitional justice under pressure in Tunisia and Myanmar
    01.10.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo

    The difficulties of transitional justice were illustrated this week in countries as diverse as Tunisia, Burundi, Myanmar and Nepal. In Tunisia,  a JusticeInfo investigation showed how abuses by the President of the Truth and Dignity Commission, Sihem Bensedrine, has herself weakened an already weak and vulnerable institution. Bensedrine, nicknamed Araïssa (the boss) is accused of “squandering public funds and recruiting staff in an anarchic and opaque way, so as to set up a parallel administration totally subservient to her orders”, writes our correspondent Olfa Belhassine. Sihem Bensedrine...

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    Week in Review: Transitional justice challenges in Burundi, Myanmar and Mali
    11.09.17
    François Sergent

    The transitional justice week was marked by the publication of a new report on Burundi by the UN Human Rights Council. This report is even more damning than the previous one with regard to this small country in the Great Lakes region facing a bloody government clampdown since the 2015 re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza which is widely seen as unconstitutional.   In an exclusive interview with JusticeInfo, UN rapporteur Fatsah Ouguergouz explains: “Since our last statement in June, we have seen the continuation of violations which are taking place in a more secretive way than in...

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    International Justice Day: From dreams to challenges
    14.07.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    In the 19th century international justice, which is being celebrated this July 17 (The Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted in Rome on July 17, 1998), was a utopian dream. But at the end of the 20th century it became a reality, first with the conflicts in former Yugoslavia and genocide in Rwanda, then with the launch in 2002 of the International Criminal Court. But this passage from dream to reality has been a shock, which we are only just starting to evaluate.   Societies’ thirst for justice cannot be extinguished. In Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and dozens of...

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    New ICTJ book promotes tailored approach to transitional justice
    19.05.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    “Justice Mosaics” is the almost poetic title of a welcome new book on transitional justice by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), an American NGO that is specialist in the field. This 400-page book, which can be downloaded for free, is subtitled “How context shapes transitional justice in fractured societies”. The idea behind the work, co-edited by ICTJ Research Director Roger Duthie and Vice-President Paul Seils, is to show how transitional justice needs to adapt to local contexts. “We often say that transitional justice is an art, not a science,” say the editors....

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    Safe Havens, Innovations in the protection of cultural property
    26.04.17
    Polina Levina Mahnad

    A recent constellation of events appear to herald a shift in how the international community responds to threats to cultural property in armed conflict. At a time when many are calling international law into question and multilateral responses to emerging threats are losing steam, the last year has seen bold moves – from court cases, State initiatives, and action by the UN Security Council – that have recognized the importance of cultural property protection for peace and security, as well as the ability of third-party states to take on responsibility for its protection. Among these are...

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    Memorialization and politics in Germany, a view from Nepal
    24.04.17
    Aditya Adhikari

    “Today, the Shoah is a universal reference,” wrote the historian Tony Judt in 2008. Everywhere in the world the Holocaust has come to stand as the epitome of political evil. And in addition, the German people’s effort to atone for and repudiate their past is often held up as exemplary. The trials of war criminals in post-war Germany, the reparations provided to victims and the memorials erected in their name have become lodestars for what is called ‘transitional justice’ – the contemporary codification of norms and policies aimed at ensuring peace and justice in the aftermath of...

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    International Criminal Justice Should Tackle Environmental Destruction
    20.04.17
    International Green parties *

    The intensive exploitation of natural resources triggers serious environmental destruction locally that has serious consequences on the global ecosytem. Based on this scientific fact, the Global Greens ask to reorganize international environmental law on the model of international criminal law. In July 2010 the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched a warrant of arrest against Omar Al Bashir, President of Sudan, for three counts of genocide including ''deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction'', among which the contamination of...

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    Hannah Arendt or the power of ordinary people facing totalitarianism
    22.03.17
    Kathleen B. Jones, San Diego State University

      In the weeks since the election of President Donald J. Trump, sales of George Orwell’s “1984” have skyrocketed. But so have those of a lesser-known title, “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” by a German Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt. “The Origins of Totalitarianism” discusses the rise of the totalitarian movements of Nazism and Stalinism to power in the 20th century. Arendt explained that such movements depended on the unconditional loyalty of the masses of “slumbering majorities,” who felt dissatisfied and abandoned by a system they perceived to be “fraudulent” and...

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    ICC Prosecutor at a turning point
    07.03.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has been in her post since June 16, 2012, and is now half way through her mandate. In four and a half years she has opened two new cases -- Mali and Georgia -- and issued an arrest warrant against Malian Jihadist Ahmed Al Mahdi for war crimes. Too little action to date, say observers, but she has numerous cases in the pipeline, notably against the Russians, British, Americans and Israelis. People wait impatiently for her expected opening of an Afghanistan case involving torture by US forces. They see it as a test and possibly a...

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    After 15 years, ICC States still debating crime of aggression
    15.02.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    In 2017, member States of the International Criminal Court (ICC) are supposed to promulgate the Kampala amendments to the Court’s Statute, giving the ICC a green light to prosecute those most responsible for crimes of “aggression”.  But what seemed to be a formality now looks again like a subject of debate.  France and the UK in particular are playing for time. The issue will be raised at the ICC Assembly of States Parties in December this year, but jurists fear that some states will try to postpone activation of the crime indefinitely.  This is a crime concerning leaders, their ministers...

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    Week in Review:Judicial complaint in Spain against Syrian regime sets precedent
    13.02.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Is a first trial in Europe against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad likely? It looks more so after Spanish state prosecutor Javier Zaragoza officially registered a complaint filed by a woman of dual Syrian and Spanish nationality. She accuses members of the Syrian security services of having tortured her brother to death near Damascus. “This is the first time that allegations have been made to a court of `acts of State terrorism` by the current Syrian administration,” writes François Musseau, JusticeInfo’s correspondent in Madrid. Leading prosecution evidence in this...

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    New challenges for transitional justice on the path to peace
    10.02.17
    Pierre Hazan

    “The times are they are a-changing”, Bob Dylan used to sing. The winner of the 2016 Nobel prize for literature was surely not thinking about transitional justice when he wrote those lines back in the 1960s. Yet times are also changing for transitional justice, which has become a key component of peace accords. But with new objectives come new challenges, and they are considerable. Transitional justice was developed during the late 1980sand the following decade in the wave of optimism that followed the end of the Cold War. Defence budgets were falling, political and economic liberalism...

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    Week in Review: Does extrajudicial killing of “terrorists” threaten rule of law?
    23.01.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The timing may be just a coincidence. But the coincidence this week of a former Guatemalan minister’s trial in Spain for summary executions of eight gang leaders and questions on the legality of French and American targeted killings of alleged Islamic State terrorists raises a real issue. How can you defend people who are indefensible in the name of a justice system that they neither respect nor practise? The question is as old as democracy itself, and has always been on the minds of the lawyers who defend “public enemies”. The trial in Spain of Carlos Roberto Vielmann, 60, a former...

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